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  • Northeast Wisconsin
  • February 2018
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Hormones that affect our libido

Our delicate hormone balance is often referred to as a symphony. When each hormone plays its part correctly, the music is beautiful and life is good, but when one of the instruments falls out of tune the music can quickly fall apart. Each hormone relies on and is affected by the other hormones at play in the body. A symptom that might seem to be caused by a female hormone imbalance might actually be caused by the adrenals or thyroid. This is why testing, along with symptom charting and patient history, is critical when diagnosing hormone imbalances.

All hormones need to be balanced in order to achieve optimal health and wellness. When our hormones fall out of balance it can lead to a wide range of symptoms varying in degrees of unpleasantness. So, we can safely say that all hormones can eventually lead to a loss of libido because when you don’t feel good and don’t feel like yourself, it’s difficult to get excited about sex. However, for this article we are going to look at a few hormones that seem to have a more direct cause and effect relationship with the libido.

Testosterone

This is not just a male hormone. Women also have testosterone in their system and it helps to drive desire and fantasy, and provide energy for sex. Women’s testosterone levels start to decline with age — same as men. With that decline, women can experience a lower sex drive and a decrease in sensitivity in the vagina and clitoris, which can also affect libido.

Estrogen

This is considered by many as the primary female hormone. It helps regulate menstrual cycles and it controls the development of female sex organs. Estrogen levels begin to decrease dramatically as a woman approaches menopause. Low levels of estrogen can cause vaginal dryness, which can lead to painful sex. It also causes mood swings and unstable sleep patterns, which can have negative effects on the libido. Estrogen dominance can also cause low sex drive, irritability, anxiety and sleeplessness. Estrogen really needs to be balanced with the right amount of progesterone.

Progesterone

Progesterone is often called the “feel good” hormone. It is needed to keep estrogen in check and prevent estrogen dominance. However, too much progesterone can negatively affect the libido and actually prevent a woman from achieving orgasm.

Thyroid and adrenals

Hypothyroidism, or low thyroid, causes body systems to slow down. Metabolism slows and causes other organs and glands to slow down. Reproductive organs and the adrenal glands, which produce hormones that convert into sex hormones, produce lower levels of these hormones resulting in a lower sex drive. On top of the hormone imbalance, there is also the issue of fatigue that is associated with hypothyroidism, which also affects libido.

High levels of cortisol, released by the adrenals during extended periods of stress, can also rob your body of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. These sex hormones are essential to a healthy libido and the stress of a lower sex drive can lead to a vicious cycle here if hormones are not brought back into balance.

This list helps to demonstrate the hormone symphony and how each hormone plays a critical role in that interwoven composition. Each cell in our body requires hormones to function properly. When our hormones are out of balance many systems in our body are affected and libido is often one of those systems. There is no reason we can’t enjoy a happy, healthy sex life long after menopause.

Vicky Romanski, FNP-BC, APNP

Vicky Romanski, FNP-BC, APNP, is a functional medicine Nurse Practitioner at Wise Woman Wellness, LLC. Romanski combines the best of conventional, functional and integrative medicine to help women with female, thyroid and adrenal hormone issues to live healthier, more abundant, joy-filled lives. She is also the Wise Woman Wellness Men’s Vitality Program Director and helps men eliminate their uncomfortable hormone imbalance symptoms and increase energy and longevity. Wise Woman Wellness is an innovative wellness and hormone care center located at 1480 Swan Rd, De Pere. Please contact her at 920-339-5252 or via the internet at www.wisewomanwellness.com

Website: wisewomanwellness.com
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